Appeals Court Sides With City; No March

Mike Friedman mikedf at amnh.org
Wed Feb 12 14:47:39 MST 2003


Appeals Court Sides With City; No March
by reporter 1:19pm Wed Feb 12 '03


A federal appeals court agreed Wednesday that the city did not
violate the First Amendment when it banned anti-war demonstrators
from marching near the United Nations next weekend.


NEW YORK -- A federal appeals court agreed Wednesday that the city
did not violate the First Amendment when it banned anti-war
demonstrators from marching near the United Nations next weekend.

The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said it could find no errors in
a lower court judge's ruling earlier this week which found the city
had acted legally when it permitted a stationary rally for 100,000
people or more but disallowed a march.

Organizers of the rally, scheduled for Saturday, and their lawyers
reacted with disappointment.

"This is a stunning blow to democracy, to the liberties we all
thought we could rely on, even in times of hostility," said Donna
Lieberman, executive director of the New York Civil Liberties Union,
which brought the issue to federal court last week.

Judge Barbara S. Jones heard testimony and arguments for a day before
concluding that the city's response was appropriate in "this time of
heightened security," especially since the protest organizers gave
the city little time to prepare.

The ruling resulted from a lawsuit brought by United for Peace and
Justice, a coalition of anti-war groups sponsoring rallies throughout
the world.

The appeals court was careful to note that its decision to uphold
Jones applied only to Saturday's protest and should not be taken to
mean that it would be constitutional for the city in all instances to
ban protests in midtown.

The city law office did not immediately comment on the appeals
ruling, which was issued from the bench.
--
Michael Friedman
Ph.D. Candidate in Ecology, Evolutionary Biology and Behavior
City University of New York

Molecular Laboratory
Department of Invertebrate Zoology
American Museum of Natural History
Central Park West at 79th Street
New York, NY  10024
(212) 313-7646

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